Callous reaction

12th May 2000 at 01:00
I WAS dismayed but hardly surprised at the callous and self-satisfied reaction by Chris Woodhead, head of OFSTED, to the suicide of a teacher after an OFSTED inspection (TESS, April 14). Mr Woodhead no doubt regards intolerable teacher stress as an acceptable price to pay for the alleged improvements in education being made in his name.

Mr Woodhead's methods focus fanatically and exclusively on superficial aspects of a teacher's technique, measurable over the short term What is infinitely more important in long-term educational terms are the attitudes to life and to learning that the teacher reinforces by his or her own example - attitudes of humility, curiosity, wonder, patience and tolerance.

These are things that do not always lend themselves to the kind of "brisk" pace Mr Woodhead's super-efficient department is apparently determined to make universal - nor should they.

Robert Bell

Stewarton Drive, Cambuslang

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